Miceli: The Players is not the fifth major

Fans gather around the driving range during Tuesday's practice round for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Players Championship never has been the fifth major to me, likely because I was a history major in college and I respect the history of the game, which generally has four majors.

I know many arguments could be made that the Western Open was a major and now is part of the FedEx Cup, but that’s another discussion.

On Tuesday, Tiger Woods made a comment that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

“The whole idea is that I peak four times a year, and I’m trying to get ready for (next month’s U.S. Open at) Congressional and I need some playing time,” Woods said about his motivation for playing this week. “I missed playing last week at a golf course (Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C.) I truly love playing, but I really want to get out there and play and compete. This is a big event, and I want to be here and play.”

How big of an event is it if you are using it as a tune-up for an event a month later?

Woods has not played very much in 2011, even compared with his typically limited schedule. Since the start of 2006, Woods has played an average of 48 rounds per year; so far in 2011, he has played 16.

If you add four rounds this week at The Players, and four more at the Memorial, Woods will have 24 rounds under his belt before the U.S. Open.

But I think the more interesting aspect of Woods’ comment is that he is treating this event as not the fifth major but as a tune-up for a real major.

I’m sure the folks at the PGA Tour, starting with commissioner Tim Finchem, were glad to hear that their signature event, at the Tour's headquarters, is really not that important.

Maybe that’s why the interview was out on the range and not in the media center.

Let the games begin.

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